Cuomo Says Proposed Cuts to City University Won't Hurt Students, Administrator Says It Would Be 'Crushing' to the System

When Governor Cuomo proposed slashing state funding for the City University of New York, he faced an immediate backlash. Defending the move, Cuomo has said savings have to be found at the city's public universities and his proposal will not hurt students. But, exactly How this will happen is unclear as NY1's Courtney Gross explains.

What would a 30% cut look like at the City University of New York?

"It would be crushing to not only the university but to the state and the city."

It was a dreary picture painted by city officials, one which they hope they will never have to face

"We've been talking to many officials in the senate and the assembly," said CUNY Vice Chancellor Matthew Sapienza. "We have been making many visits up to Albany."

In his budget proposal, Governor Cuomo proposed shifting part of the cost of running the city's public colleges from the state back on to city hall. So in effect, if the city doesn't pick up the tab, the CUNY system will be $485 million short.

"If we had to do a cut of that magnitude, this unfathomable amount that we would have to cut, of closing campuses," Vice Chancellor Sapienza said.

Cuomo has said this is not about cuts to the classroom but bureaucracy.

When we asked about the cuts, the governor's office sent NY1 this letter from January.

In it, the state operations director told both the City University and State University chancellors their administrative costs were too high. Both systems were ordered to find efficiencies.

We are told city and state university officials are developing a plan to create efficiencies. But when that plan will be delivered to the governor's office is a bit unclear.

It's unclear how the CUNY system could meet Cuomo's target.

Some students, staff and elected officials have suggested politics could be at play.

"I don't know if there is a personal vendetta or anything he has with CUNY," said student Desiree Greenidge. "But I am not into that. I just want college to be affordable."

"Governor Cuomo gets an F," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "He gets an F because any position to reduce funding on the state level to CUNY is turning your back on the future."

In a statement a spokeswoman for the governor said: "There is no scenario in which this plan would adversely impact CUNY students and to suggest otherwise is simply untruthful."

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